But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ 1 Corinthians 15:57 ESV
For residents in a nursing home life can sometimes feel like a place of total defeat. You can see it in the stooped shoulders or hear it in the angry reactions to small annoyances. In our own home as we are passing through my wife’s battle with cancer I am finding myself facing the same struggles. I feel like a rowboat caught in the tidal wave of serious illness and family turmoil. That is exactly the situation which the disciples faced as the accompanied Jesus to the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus had asked them to pray with him for one hour; but the Bible tells us that
And when He rose from prayer He came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow. Luke 22:45
They were overcome by sorrow, but not their master. Jesus had prayed till His sweat fell like drops of blood. Jesus had continued interceding even when they felt defeated. In the same way He is interceding in heaven for you and I today. Neither our sorrow nor our despair will cause Him to abandon us. He will come and awaken us. He will carry our burdens. He chose in that dark garden to pay the full price for our sin to give us hope. It is that hope which lies behind the cry:
O Grave where is your victory? Death where is your sting? 1 Corinthians 15:55
This is the seventh day of our 31 day journey of Hope.
I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope Psalm 130:5 KJV
Whether looking out the window at a nursing home or looking out the window at work or school we all sometimes wonder how we will make it. Where will we get the strength just to keep putting one foot in front of the other?
It is easier facing outward conflicts because at least we can see the enemy we are fighting. But when things seem dark and confusing on the inside then there are moments when we feel as if things are hopeless. God’s word gives us this promise from king David who found that his greatest enemies were bigger than the giant Goliath whom he had faced on the battlefield. David’s battle with sin, failure, and shame left him wondering how he could face his family, his friends and his responsibility as a leader and example for others.
At his darkest moment David remembers that the same God who had given him hope when he fought the giant with a sling had also promised him forgiveness and restoration when he had sinned. God’s word isn’t weakened by our failures, doubts or needs. There is no limit to how much God can restore and His promises are not a limited time offer. You haven’t missed your chance to ask God for His help. Today is the perfect day in all eternity to put your hope in His word!
That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses Matthew 8:17
If we think that God is so intimately concerned with our physical needs that He has counted even the number of hairs on our head. We have a great hope that whether in this life or in the next; God will heal every disease, restore all that is broken and renew our youth like the eagles!
Whether sitting in a wheel chair in a nursing home or confined to a bed with a tracheotomy tube in order to breathe, Jesus offers the hope of complete and entire healing as one part of His promise of eternal life. That promise may be overlooked or forgotten by we who are in perfect health, yet God does not forget. The same Jesus who was moved with compassion for lepers, the blind and the lame has promised to wipe every tear from our eyes. He not only has compassion for our aches, pains and disabilities but the Bible tells us that He took all of these onto his shoulders and carried them. If we continue reading in the chapter of Isaiah that Matthew quotes we see that in the very next verse that it is by His stripes that we are healed. God is so very concerned for every one of our pains and infirmities that He allowed a whip to fall across the shoulders of Jesus. As He was wounded again and again we were being healed. Weak arms will be lifted, failing voices will sing again and deaf ears will hear the shepherd’s voice! Yes we have the hope of healing! When the temporary things of earth have passed we will stand strong and eternally young in the presence of our ageless King!
That day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew near.
Most of us naturally forget that the drawing near of Sabbath did not mean that it would soon be dawn, but that it would soon be night. As Joseph and Nicodemus carried the lifeless body of Jesus they hurried. By law they must be done before the dark of Sabbath.
But the dark of the beginning of Sabbath rest was not a curse but a sign of hope. The sun had set on the final hour of labor for the week. The hours ahead -all 24 of them belonged to God. God intended for Sabbath to be more than simply endured. Sabbath was God’s special day and a time to be anxiously awaited and hoped for. Jesus lay still in the tomb on the day of rest in hope of the resurrection. There was no defeat in that darkness but a joyful quiet waiting knowing what The Father had planned.